“’The Idol’ was one of HBO’s most provocative original programs, and we’re pleased by the strong audience response,” said a spokesperson for HBO. “After much thought and consideration, HBO, as well as the creators and producers have decided not to move forward with a second season. We’re grateful to the creators, cast, and crew for their incredible work.”
Created by Levinson and the Weeknd, with the Weeknd starring opposite Lily-Rose Depp, “The Idol” began making headlines well before its debut. In April 2022, news broke that Amy Seimetz had exited as director and would be replaced by Levinson as the series underwent significant reshoots. Then, a March 2023 Rolling Stone report detailed serious allegations about a toxic set, which the Weeknd responded to by posting a deleted scene where his character described Rolling Stone as “irrelevant.” At the Cannes Film Festival, Levinson said the article made him realize “The Idol” would be “the biggest show of the summer.”
Overall, the show was poorly received, with a 19% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Variety‘s review said that the series “plays like a sordid male fantasy.”
Ratings for the series were middling. It premiered with 913,000 viewers — 17% fewer than the 2019 launch of “Euphoria,” another HBO show hailing from Levinson that targeted a young adult audience, with fewer celebrity attached at the time of release. However, that number did grow to 3.6 million viewers after the episode’s first full week of availability, and now sits at 7 million. Episode 2 fell to 800,000 viewers on its first night.
HBO declined to share viewership data for the rest of the series’ run.
More to come…